Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Roof, The Roof, The Roof Is On Fire --

The central dome of St. Petersburg's Trinity Cathedral was destroyed by fire. One of the cupolas was also destroyed and another damaged.
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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Even the Dalai Lama went to Mongolia --
Via the International Herald Tribune, the Dalai Lama plans on going to Mongolia. Mongolia, noted place where vegans can't possible live on the local diet.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Is a Katrina Memorial Illegal? --
Via the LA Times: "A proposed memorial to victims of Hurricane Katrina from St. Bernard's Parish that includes a cross bearing a depiction of Jesus has spurred a conflict between parish officials and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU says incorporating a cross in the memorial is unconstitutional because local government officials were part of the committee that conceived the idea and because the group thinks the site where it will be erected is public land.

But parish officials insist that the land where the memorial will be placed is private, though it is near a public waterway. And they argue that parish employees, who are members of the memorial committee, are volunteers who worked on the project on their own time, using private funding.

The proposed memorial is scheduled to be erected Aug. 29, the storm's one-year anniversary. It is a 13-foot-high, 7-foot-wide gold-painted, stainless steel cross bearing a silver artistic rendering of Jesus' face. An accompanying stone monument will be inscribed with the names of the parish's storm dead and the 20 who were never found."
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What Is a Fascist? --
At Dappled Things, Father Jim Tucker thinks that people toss around a lot of inaccurate labels: "I'd hazard a guess that over 90% of the people tossing around the word 'Islamo-Fascist' these days really couldn't say what a Fascist actually is (other than, 'Mussolini was one'). I wonder whether the Commander-in-Chief could, either. "
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Monday, August 14, 2006

Is an Israeli Worth More than a Lebanese Life? --
Kaylor at For God's Sake Shut Up notes how Israelis are "killed" but Lebanese merely "die" in reporting.
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The Pope Speaks --
From Vatican Radio, an interview with Pope Benedict XVI.
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Friday, August 11, 2006

It's All About the Oil --
I've heard a lot of suggestions, including that it's all about the water rights. Over at The Left Coaster, Steve Soto spins a yarn about a possible conspiracy theory that what's going on in Lebanon is about oil. It's not wholly implausible. I'm not onboard, but I think that, unlike some suggested conspiracy theories, this at least has the merit of having all the actors acting logically.
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Using Tampons Religiously --
I'm going to skip all the punnish lead-ins I thought about for linking to this. Hugo Schwyzer writes about how religious beliefs on sexuality affect tampon usage.
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What Are Unitarian Universalists? --
There are all sorts of jokes about the Unitarian Universalists, including that they are atheists who are afraid to admit it.

PeaceBang forwards the hypothesis that UUs are becoming a vague sort of Buddhism.
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Monday, August 07, 2006

Filipino Bishops Are Also Bloggers --
Bene Diction Blogs On points us to some bishops in the Philippines who are blogging.
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Breaking News --
This just in. Our president is an idiot!
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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Jimmy Akin on Whether Or Not The Passion of the Christ Was Anti-Semetic --
Read this for a calm, well-reasoned response to Mel Gibson's recent troubles. One excerpt:

I've never been a Mel Gibson fan, and I don't follow his work closely. The movie of his that stands out most in my mind, of course, is The Passion of the Christ, which was subject to numerous charges of anti-Semitism when (and especially before) it came out. After seeing the movie, I felt that many of these charges were unfounded, which was a view affirmed by many in the Jewish community, including Michael Medved.

Nevertheless, I also felt that there was one element in the film in particular that was subject to criticism on this score: the film's treatment of the high priest Caiaphas.

Gibson created a portrait of Pontius Pilate that was sympathetic and nuanced, and the film cried out for him to do the same thing for Caiaphas. Indeed, the Gospel of John gives one all the fodder one would need to portray Caiaphas in a sympathetic light, given his fear (chronicled in John 11) that if Jesus wasn't put to death that he would become a revolutionary Messianic leader that would start a war with the Romans and cause the Romans to invade and kill massive numbers of Jewish people.

Given the fact that the gospels also portray Pilate as having ambivalent feelings about the crucifixion, the blindingly obvious artistic choice was to portray them both sympathetically, with both feeling that they had to do what they did regarding Jesus for reasons that the viewer could understand. In other words, the tragedy should have been one of "Father, forgive them for the know not what they do" in the cases of both men.

Gibson delivered that for Pilate and utterly ignored it for Caiaphas, who simply comes across as a fanatic in the film.

At the time I said (in conversations with film critic Steven Greydanus) that this artistic blindspot on Gibson's part could be due either to an anti-Semitic tendency or due to the random blindspots that all artists suffer from. Given Gibson's disavowals of anti-Semitism and his involvement of Jewish individuals in the project (casting a Jewish woman as the Mother of God is no small thing if you're an anti-Semite), I hoped to be able to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, but in light of his recent anti-Semitic tirade, I have to re-evaluate.

It now looks probable to me that the blindspot was due to his anti-Semitic tendencies.

While I still consider The Passion of the Christ to be an extraordinary film, I now find it tainted in this respect.

I also will have to view Gibson's future projects in light of what is now known.

All of which makes me sad.
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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Daniel Drezner Predicts Mel Gibson --
I can't tell how much of this sequence of events is meant as a joke and how much of it is legitimate prognostication.
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